Time for Yahoo To Buy AOL

Includes: MSFT, TWX, YHOO
by: Matthew Rafat

Jerry Yang reached out to Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and was met with partial rejection. Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) had increased around 7% this week on rumors of a Microsoft buyout. Today, Steve Ballmer shut down any hope of a buyout, causing Yahoo shares to decline by around 14%.

Continuing the romantic analogy I've used to describe this situation (Yahoo Shareholder Meeting (2008)), Ballmer basically said he is willing to sleep with Yahoo but not marry it--in other words, he will partner with Yahoo but not buy it. Yahoo must feel terrible knowing that Wall Street values its stock more by Microsoft's intent than on its individual growth prospects. Can't a woman just be independent and attractive? The market is treating Yahoo like an old woman with no other prospects, no job, and no education, who needs to find a man quick or be cast into a dungeon. It would be funny if it wasn't so wrong.

Yahoo can do fine on its own. Its home page continues to rank in the top two for visitors. It is doing very well in Japan. Also, the recession will help Yahoo keep more of its American talent. Yahoo's salesforce might be its biggest problem--it needs to focus on getting major ad accounts to boost its revenue, and it has lost some key sales personnel.

At least now, Jerry Yang can't be completely blamed for Yahoo's stock price--he reached out to Microsoft and was rejected. It's time for Susan Decker to talk to Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) and buy its AOL property. After all, the best revenge in romance is finding another desirable partner.